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The novel PlanarHD air bearing stage from Aerotech features design enhancements for increased throughput in ultra-high precision step-and-settle and scanning applications.

These improvements include semiconductor processing and emerging micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)/nano technologies.

The 500mm x 500mm travel stage includes larger air bearing surfaces for significantly improved dynamic characteristics and higher-power linear servo motors on both axes to deliver a specification that includes a 2m/s scan velocity and peak acceleration to 5g, with a positioning resolution of up to 0.25nm, repeatability to 50nm and accuracy to +/-300nm.

It is estimated that the PlanarHD will yield a 50 per cent increase in throughput when compared to other manufacturers’ stages that have a typical scan velocity of 500mm/s and 0.5g acceleration over a 300mm constant travel range.

The 500mm travel range is also a future-proof investment for 450mm-diameter wafer production.

The PlanarHD employs a low-mass structural bearing design with a balanced air-on-air preload system for higher lateral, vertical and angular stiffness, aimed at resulting in improved speed, acceleration and accuracy characteristics.

Nominal payload is 5kg to maintain dynamic specifications, with an upper limit of 30kg.

The H-bridge design utilises dual air-bearings, dual linear motors and dual linear encoders on the step axis and, in conjunction with Aerotech’s A3200 control system, a calibrated orthogonal/yaw control of one arc-sec is made possible for parallel scans or process swaths over the entire surface of a wafer.

The low-profile H-bridge design employs the scan and step axe centrelines and all encoders at the same level, effectively co-locating the centre of mass, the force centre and the feedback centre.

This ensures a high dynamic capacity that combines with the optimised air bearing preload system for a 330Hz first natural frequency and a high servo bandwidth.

Furthermore, as all encoders are placed very close to the working plane, Abbe errors are minimised for improved stage precision.

Optional laser interferometer feedback is also available and the 500mm travel range may be increased to 1.2m while still maintaining comparable performance and precision levels, according to the company.

As part of Aerotech’s comprehensive engineered systems capability, the PlanarHD can be delivered with matching rotary and/or Z-axis stages and the aluminium/granite stage construction may be replaced with ceramics, invar, stainless or titanium materials for further improved performance.

The stage makes full use of Aerotech’s BLM-series brushless linear servo motors that feature an ironless forcer with zero cogging for smooth motion and jitter-free in-position stability.

BLM-series linear motors generate the highest force-per-unit volume ratio of any competitive linear motor design.

To further improve dynamic performance, both air and water cooling thermal management options are available.

The high throughput and ultra-high precision capability of the PlanarHD is completed with Aerotech’s A3200 Digital Automation Platform and Firewire networked Ndrive linear stage amplifiers.

This decentralised and fully deterministic PC-based motion and machine control system includes advanced features such as trajectory generation with multi-block look-ahead to minimise geometry errors in tight profiles by speed/position regulation.

Position-synchronised output (PSO) is also available to maintain precise synchronisation between the exact real-time X- and Y-stage position and the customers’ laser or light source, with the ability to dynamically modify pulse, power and firing characteristics during motion.

For further motion trajectory optimisation and where improved throughput performance of complex motion profiles is required, users can also call upon Aerotech’s Motion Designer software.

Motion Designer is claimed to facilitate trajectory programming and reduce development timescales with analysis tools and iterative learning control algorithms that reduce following error and improve cycle times over multiple runs.


Aerotech — manufacturer of high-precision motion control components and systems

Aerotech — manufacturer of high-precision motion control components and systems

Aerotech manufactures the highest-performance motion control components and systems for our customers in industry, government, science and research institutions around the world. Our products include automated nanopositioners; planar and rotary air-bearing stages; high-speed gantries; mechanical-bearing linear, rotary and lift stages; brushless linear and rotary servomotors and drives; standalone and software-based motion controllers; goniometers; and gimbals/optical mounts. Custom, vacuum-prepped and cleanroom-ready positioning systems and components are available. Aerotech’s precision motion control products provide the critical performance for demanding applications in markets including medical devices and life sciences, semiconductors and flat panels, photonics, automotive, data storage, laser processing, military and aerospace, electronic manufacturing and test, assembly, research and development and others requiring high-precision, high-throughput motion solutions.

Motion controls, drives and motors

From our award-winning Automation 3200 32-axis machine controller to our Soloist series single-axis and Ensemble series multi-axis standalone motion controllers, Aerotech provides a controller solution to fit almost any need. Aerotech complements our controllers with our large selection of high-performance brushless linear and rotary servomotors and PWM and linear drives.

Linear and rotary stages, nanopositioners and gantries

Aerotech positioning stages range from economical ballscrew and gear-driven linear and rotary stages to the highest-performance direct-drive linear and rotary stages available, linear-motor-based Cartesian gantry systems, single- and multi-axis air-bearing systems and our complete range of ANT series long-travel nanopositioners.

Custom, vacuum and cleanroom-ready motion systems

If you don’t find a standard product suitable for your application, our expertise and ability to provide custom motion components and systems is unmatched. Our custom manufacturing capability is further augmented by our long history of providing systems for vacuum and cleanroom operation.

Since 1970, Aerotech has been committed to supporting our customers worldwide. We maintain a growing number of direct field sales and engineering offices throughout the US, as well as representatives across the globe. We also operate full sales and service facilities in the UK, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and China.

We’d be happy to assist you with your motion control application. Please use the contact information below to enquire about our services.

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